Going local, having a positive impact and veering off the beaten track are three of the trends that Singapore-based destination and event management company Pacific World says will impact the MICE industry in 2018.
“Over the past several months, we’ve systematically collected data, insights and feedback from our worldwide network of planners and clients,” said Patricia Silvio, global marketing manager, Pacific World. “We’ve learned about the most requested destinations as well as the types of engagements that are trending. While many believe in the importance and use of technology for events, we believe it is important to focus on another level of connection. In the last year, we have seen a change in the way our clients approach travel. An incentive is not a nice trip to reward an employee; it is also an opportunity to interact, learn and experience. We’re seeing a new generation of global citizens who are committed to the idea of an open and interconnected world. They are experienced travellers who seek new fulfilling experiences that deliver emotional engagement.”
- Go local. “Experiences that tie guests to the destination are growing in popularity,” confirm Tania Pasi, global product development manager, Pacific World. “This trend is also popular with locals–they enjoy becoming the hosts andhelping to design the activities. A great example is found in the middle of a forest south of Seoul. Guests are invited to cook a meal in an ancient Buddhist temple and learn about what food sharing means for Asian communities and cultures. In remote Myanmar, a guided sailboat ride along tranquil waters with a local fisherman reveals spectacular cooperative fishing between dolphins and fisherman—a practice that goes back centuries.”
- Culture Vulture. Immersive, behind-the-scenes experiences with local experts. Examples include handcrafting an authentic Venice Carnival mask in a real atelier, and sitting with local artisans in Hoi An, Vietnam and listening to stories about their art traditions and culture.
- Positive Impact. “Always popular, we are seeing an increase in the demand especially among U.S. clients, and a change in the experiences themselves to make them truly supportive and meaningful addressing problems of the local communities. Global citizens want to actively participate in the communities they visit—from sustainable experiences to preserving cultural heritage to immersing into villages to collaborate in their sustainable development. Example: In Barcelona, guests are invited to a special cooking class led, not by professional chefs, but by immigrants who have found a way to share their culture and start a new life. In Istanbul, Turkey, participate in bespoke programs that bring guests together with displaced children who are hoping to build a future through their music talents.
- Off the Beaten Track. Travellers want to discover remote places, or experience known destinations in a new way. Examples: Discover new whisky routes in Scotland, while travelling the countryside. Gain access to a secluded Shaolin Temple near Luoyang, China.
Pacific World operated 1,500 events in the six months prior to October 2017. China (200), Spain (195) and Thailand (180) hosted the most events.
The company also reports that demand for European destinations has increased 44 per cent over 2016. Spain received 16 per cent of requests, with London, Paris, Rome, Monaco and Germany remaining popular for meetings and events. Monaco and Germany hosted the largest groups in the last six months.
In Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are the top two MICE destinations, followed by growing interest in Malaga and Tenerife.
In Asia, Thailand (18 per cent), China (15 per cent), Indonesia (14 per cent) and Hong Kong (13 per cent) hosted the most events.
The most sought-after emerging destination? Peru. Seven per cent of the requests Pacific World receives from around the world are for Peru.